October 5, 2021

AL WC: Red Sox 6, Yankees 2

Yankees - 000 001 001 - 2  6  0
Red Sox - 201 001 20x - 6 7 0

The Red Sox made sure the AL Wild Card Game was devoid of tension, chasing Yankee ace Gerrit Cole off the mound after only two innings (2-4-3-2-3, 50). Both Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber homered off Cole. Alex Verdugo added three RBI later on.

Nathan Eovaldi was superb (5.1-4-1-0-8, 71), as was Alex Cora's quartet of relievers.

Boston's 6-2 victory puts the team in the ALDS against the Rays. And it sends the chronically underachieving Yankees home for the winter. The outcome of this do-or-die game was never in doubt. Much like Bucky Dent in 2021, the Yankees offense was completely irrelevant.

Eovaldi's first pitch was grounded to first by Anthony Rizzo, where Bobby Dalbec easily recorded the out. Eovaldi set the tone in the first inning, working methodically and pounding the zone (55 of his 71 pitches were strikes). He gave up a single to Giancarlo Stanton that hit about halfway up the left field wall. Both the ESPN TV announcer and the Yankees radio announcer thought the ball had been launched into orbit. Apparently, so did Stantron, because he loafed out of the box and got only as far as first base.
Cole retired the first two Boston batters in the bottom of the first. That turned out to be the high point of his night.

After Rafael Devers walked, Bogaerts went BOOM, crushing a two-run homer to dead center. 
The Red Sox were denied a good chance to score in the second. Kevin Plawecki doubled to right-center with one out. Dalbec took a 3-2 pitch outside, but plate umpire Mark Carlson incorrectly called it strike three. Boston would have had men at first and second with one out if MLB believed that having balls and strikes called correctly was important. But it doesn't.

After Eovaldi allowed another two-out single in the second, he retired the next 11 New York hitters. He threw 99 mph gas right down the heart of the plate to Rizzo in the third and Rizzo couldn't touch it. He ended the third when Aaron Judge hacked at a first pitch and displayed "almost warning track power" by flying to right-center.

Schwarber led off the home third by clubbing a high 1-2 fastball to deep right-center, giving Boston a three-run lead. It turns out Schwarber has punished Cole before.
Kike Hernández followed that dong by topping Cole's next pitch slowly along the grass on third base side. Cole ran a ways to get the ball but he had no play. As the Yankees bullpen got busy, Cole walked Devers again, with balls 3 and 4 being nowhere close to the zone.

And that was it. Cole was relieved of the ball and the $324 million man did the walk of shame back to the third base dugout. 
Clay Holmes put out the fire with a strikeout and a double play. Perhaps the Yankees should have started him.

Stanton struck out to start the top of the fourth. Eovaldi got the next two batters on easy flies to center. He struck out two batters in a perfect, 10-pitch fifth. I was relaxed. This game was actually fun.

Rizzo homered with one out in the sixth, a high fly down the right field line. Judge beat out an infield hit and Cora opted to go the pen. The first guy was Ryan Brasier. Stanton hit another 900-foot home run single off the wall. The ball caromed towards center field, and Hernandez threw it in to Bogaerts on one hop. Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin had taken a huge (and unwise) gamble by sending Judge. when the Yankees need baserunners. Bogaerts's throw reached Plawecki on the fly and it was perfect, low to the catcher's left side, right into the path of the runner, who was easily tagged out. Joey Gallo popped to third and the Yankees' threat evaporated.
The Red Sox re-established their three-run lead off Luis Severino immediately. Bogaerts walked with one out and Verdugo doubled into the right field corner. This time, sending the runner was a no-brainer and X scored standing up. After a pitching change, Hunter Renfroe walked, but the two Christians (pinch-hitter Vazquez and Arroyo) both struck out.

Tanner Houck pitched the seventh. Gleyber Torres flied to center, Brett Gardner struck out on high heat, and Gio Urshela also whiffed.

Verdugo struck again in the seventh. After Arroyo grounded to third, Yankee pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga got a strike on Schwarner before throwing four balls. Then he threw four more balls to Hernandez. Chad Green tried his luck and got Devers to fly to center before throwing four balls to Bogaerts. It was New York's seventh walk; Red Sox pitchers walked no one. Verdugo lined an opposite-field single over shortstop and into the gap. It was good for two runs, although Verdugo was thrown out at second.

The top of the eighth featured Hansel Robles. Gary Sanchez pinch-hit and flied out to center on one pitch. Andrew Velazquez popped to left. Rizzo struck out on three pitches.

Garrett Whitlock pitched the ninth. The slim 25-year-old had been discarded by the Yankees and picked up by the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft. he had a fantastic season, with a 1.96 ERA in 46 games and more than a strikeout per inning. He faced four batters and threw two pitches to each of them. Judge grounded to shortstop, Stanton homered down the right field line (ESPN's Alex Rodriguez praised it, but then he always had a thing for garbage-time home runs), Gallo flied to right, and Torres popped to right.

Next up: ALDS Game 1 in Tampa Bay on Thursday.

Hey, it turns out the Post was right.

Yankees scored 2 runs.
Cole pitched 2 innings.
Cole allowed 2 home runs.

1 comment:

Fusionmouse said...


Nothing tops off YED, like a big old helping of Schadenfruede.

Well done as always.